There is no better way to explore a City so rich in heritage and culture like reading the history of its streets.
In the City, the street names that we find are important historical signposts of mapping a place's physical history, its economic, social, political and cultural history too. The history of street names have always created much debate in many places across the world. Street names have an impact on the way we read the City and when exploring a historical place like Derry, the heritage of the city is etched into plagues, signs and road-maps scattered across the landscape.
The late John Bryson, a Derry man, was one of the most authoritative & knowledgeable voices on the history of Derry City. In 2001 John Bryson published the first edition on the heritage of 'Derry's Streets' .The Belfast Telegraph said;
"The first edition of Streets of Derry (1625-2001), produced by Guildhall Press 20 years ago, rapidly became one of the most authoritative and sought-after histories of north west Ireland ever written."
It received recognition from historians as one of the most detailed history books on the mapping of Derry City, and was an excellent guide for tourists who wanted to learn more about the landscape and its heritage. However, Mr Bryson viewed the first edition as a work in progress.
He immediately set about improving it by travelling further back into the dark ages and forward into the 21st century. The old edition is now being sold for as much as £150 online, but you can buy the new and improved book published by Colmcille Press for only £20.
In the new Columban Anniversary edition, readers can find a historical map of Derry created by John Bryson of the Columban Derry City c. 1510, which he named Daire.
The astounding work Mr. Bryson put into the map, will, as Garbhán Downey says, "certainly be known by generations to come as 'The Bryson Map'."
Throughout Bryson's Derry's Streets, there are many photographs and "reminders of [Derry's] industrial past through its built heritage include Nimmons Shirt Factory, Pennyburn Mill and the City Factory, while evocative names such as Jampot Row, Dark Lane and Fishboat Quay leap off the pages." (Irish Times)
Whether you're a history buff, a tourist, student or have a general interest in the heritage of the city, we would suggest you buy a copy of this fantastic book on the history and heritage of Derry City for yourself.